Appeals Accepted in First Miller Cases

Less than three weeks after a Supreme Court ruling mandated it, an Iowa court gives two inmates the right to appeal the life without parole sentences they were given years ago when they were 17 years old. “We’re thrilled to see these concrete steps being made,” said Jody Kent Lavy, director of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. “They are obviously required to do so,” she added. The Iowa cases may be the first nationwide re-opened under Miller v. Alabama. The Supreme Court said in Miller that sentencing judges must consider mitigating factors in dealing with juvenile homicide cases.

High Court’s Decision in Miller v. Alabama is a Victory for Many, Especially in Communities of Color

The W. Haywood Burns Institute  (BI) would like to congratulate our colleague Bryan Stevenson at the Equal Justice Initiative  and the legions of lawyers, advocates and families on their victory in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama. 

This decision will impact more than 2,000 young people of which 75 percent are youth of color. The decision specifically holds that young people convicted of homicide cannot mandatorily be sentenced to life without possibility of parole. While some headlines scream that “murderers” will go free, for those of us that live and work in communities of color, this decision is impactful and important. In some communities of concentrated poverty across the country, the line between perpetrator and victim is easily traversed. Families of victims and convicted perpetrators are coming to grips with the facts of the new decision.

Supreme Court Prepares to Hear Health Care Reform Case, Young People Take to the Web

For three days next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will determine the fate of the health care reform law signed by President Obama two years ago. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act introduced a number of changes to how the health insurance industry operates and would cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans. Immediate changes include allowing adult children to remain on their parents’ insurance until they turn 27 as well as the elimination of yearly and lifetime coverage caps. More changes will be rolled out slowly until 2014, when the full law takes effect. But opponents argue one provision in particular is unconstitutional — the so-called individual mandate that takes effect in 2014 and requires most Americans to purchase health insurance or else face heavy fines.